Back in ye olden times, when folk still used phrases like 'ye olden times', King James II of Scotland decided to ban 'ye golf'.

The bold Jimmy also outlawed a crude, primitive form of fitba'. It was later revived as the Scottish Premiership. All of this ye-ing and banning happened in 1457, just three minutes before the Lanarkshire derby was set to kick off and the last group were about to tee-off in 'ye medal' but King Jim stuck to his guns, or whatever it was they stuck to in ye day. Gowf and futebawe were distracting his subjects from valuable archery practice and were 'utterly condemned' by the high heid yins, although historians would later discover that the devastating effects of a shanked 5-iron could be far more crippling than the impact of the bow and arrow.

Here in 2015, King James II seems to be alive and well in the shape of Mr Xi Jinping, the president of the People's Republic of China.

Xi, rather like Chairman Mao before him, has declared something of a war on the Royal & Ancient game which is still seen as elitist and an example of flashy western decadence. Mr Xi has obviously not been to a Scottish Golf Writers' Spring Meeting. The irony, of course, is that the increasingly suspicious view of golf from the top brass in China comes at a time when one of this vast country's golfing sons has achieved an historic success. Wu Ashun became the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on Chinese soil on Sunday when he edged out David Howell to capture the Volvo China Open in Shanghai. The previous weekend, another Chinese golfer, Li Hao-tong, was beaten in a play-off to the Shenzhen International.

Xi, meanwhile, is trying to put the brakes on the spurt as his crackdown on immoral behaviour among party and military leaders in his country moves to the fairways and greens. For the communist command, golf is still something of a taboo, a capitalist pastime and one that is being bracketed in with drugs, prostitution and gambling. We look forward to that topic coming up for discussion at the next R&A seminar. "Like fine liquor and tobacco, fancy cars and mansions, golf is a public-relations tool that businessmen use to hook officials," declared one state newspaper recently.

As China's economy began to boom and newly made millionaires got a taste for golf, the game began to flourish. In 2004, though, the government put a ban on the development of new courses over concerns that valuable land and water resources were being consumed by the feverish construction. In the next decade, though, the number of courses grew for 200 to upwards of 600 as local governments flouted the rules and regulations and pushed through technically illegal new projects under the nod-and-wink guise of country clubs or leisure resorts. In that time, of course, the tournament scene in China has gone from strength to strength.

In addition to the lucrative events that have been held in China over the past fortnight, the European Tour's international schedule, now well established in this region, will stop off in China two more times in 2015 with the WGC HSBC Champions and the BMW Masters forming part of the circuit's money-soaked Final Series and boasting a combined purse of over $15 million. Rather like unearthing the Terracotta Army with a pick and shovel, the European Tour continues to strike it rich in this neck of the woods. Golf's migration to the emerging markets of the Far East is seen by many as key to the future well being of the game and the return of the sport to next year's Olympics should bolster this growth. The all-powerful PGA Tour has also started to dip its bread in the sloshing gravy boat and, last year, it expanded its tentacles of power into the country by launching the PGA Tour China, a developmental circuit that can offer a route to the riches and opportunity of the US scene. Shanshan Feng became the first Chinese golfer, male or female, to win a major championship when she triumphed in the LPGA Championship in 2012 while Guan Tianlang became the youngest player to make the cut in the Masters as a 14-year-old in 2013. The potential in this colossal nation is bigger than the Great Wall of China. The creation of an $80 million national training centre in Nanshan, where children as young as six are introduced to the game while talented teenagers are groomed as future major or Olympic champions, is a concerted attempt to nurture and capitalise on this potential. Only recently, however, Xi's hard line approach has led to him ordering the closure of 66 "illegal" courses around the country.

"There are alternate realities in China," suggested Dan Washburn, the author of 'The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream'. "One day you'll read headlines about a war on golf, and the next you'll hear about China's future Olympic golf stars."

Expansion and expulsion, investment and interference? Golf in China remains a ball game of contradictions.